Jewelled-Stuffed Butternut Squash

Your vegetarian guests will appreciate this spectacular centrepiece. Pops of feta and pomegranate add a lovely contrast to the nutty grains and sweet roasted squash flesh.


1 large butternut squash, about 1.2kg
½ tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g baby leaf spinach
1 x 250g pouch cooked grains or rice (we used Merchant Gourmet Glorious Grains) – use a gluten-free mix if required
1 x 80g pack pomegranate seeds (or seeds of 1 fruit)
25g toasted pine nuts
1 x 30g pack coriander, chopped
125g vegetarian feta, crumbled

2 tbsp mild olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Slice the butternut squash in half end-to-end and scrape out the seeds. Place both halves onto a lined oven tray, cut-side down. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until just tender when you pierce the flesh with a small sharp knife. Take care not to overcook the squash as it’ll cook further once returned to the oven. Set aside to cool.
  2. Flip the cooled squash halves over. Scoop most of the tender flesh out into a bowl, leaving a 1.5cm ‘shell’ of squash around the edges. Season the hollowed- out squash halves.
  3. Heat 1⁄2 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan or lidded frying pan, then fry the onion over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes. Stir through the spinach, cover with a lid, and leave to wilt for 2 minutes. Next, add the grains, scooped-out squash, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and coriander. Break down the squash with your spoon and mix everything together well.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Stir this through the grain mixture and lastly fold through the feta. Season to taste.
  5. Divide the filling mixture between the squash halves, pressing it down so it is compacted. Put the two halves back together to re- make the butternut squash shape and secure with loops of kitchen string tied around the squash.
  6. Return to the oven tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until the squash is completely tender and the filling is piping hot. To serve, slice the squash into thick rounds, using a wide spatula to help hold each slice together, and discard the string.

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